[ Content | Sidebar ]

Archives for musings

Taking out the Rubbish

January 31st, 2020

Yes this will definitely protect me from the coronovirus

On the plus side I got an extra 10 days holiday. Downside is I can’t go outside.

What a waste of a sunny day

Android Connectivity Check and NTP in Mainland China

October 13th, 2019

If you’re using an Android phone with LineageOS or similar close-to-stock ROM in mainland China you may have problems with NTP not syncing and every WiFi network being marked as “no internet access”.

By default Android tries to access http://connectivitycheck.android.com/generate_204 to determine if a network has internet access. This is also used for captive portal detection. The android.com domain is completely blocked by the Great Firewall.

The default NTP server is 2.android.pool.ntp.org. At lease some of the servers in this pool are either blocked or have poor connectivity from China.

You could work around this by using a VPN all the time. But it’s actually easy to change these settings, and you only need ADB access, not root.

First change the connectivity check URL to Google’s China holding page.

adb shell settings put global captive_portal_http_url 'https://www.google.cn/generate_204'
adb shell settings put global captive_portal_https_url 'https://www.google.cn/generate_204'

You can use another URL that generates a HTTP 204 response if you don’t want to rely on anything Google.

Next change the NTP server:

adb shell settings put global ntp_server pool.ntp.org

pool.ntp.org should give servers geographically close to you. Alternatively you might like to use cn.pool.ntp.org.

Lego Submarine

October 11th, 2019

When I was child I had a bit of a thing about building Lego submarines. I think it started after we went on a day out to the soviet submarine in Folkstone, sadly no longer open to the public. Anyway it seems I’ve still got the skillz.

At the front we have the sleeping area for the crew and some missiles. The next room is the on-board dentist because… reasons. Followed by the crew relaxation area and the nuclear reactor / engine room at the rear. Upstairs is the control room.

Linus Torvalds

July 13th, 2019

I finally saw Linus Torvalds live! I think, however, reading his online rants is considerably more interesting than watching a staged conversation. 🙃

Weird Sunset and a Relocation

October 13th, 2018

So I decided to take a job doing open source-y things for a certain well-known CPU vendor. More on that in the future, maybe. But as part of that I relocated to Shanghai. Now I live up here in the sky:

Some apartment blocks and things

Last weekend there was mini-typhoon. It rained a lot and then there was this really strange sunset.

I didn’t notice the construction site when I viewed the apartment

Virgin Upper Class Review

September 30th, 2018

All those years travelling around for Cisco finally paid off when I used 67000 air miles plus £365 tax to buy a one-way “upper class” (Virgin Atlantic’s first class) ticket London Heathrow to Shanghai. Is first class better than economy? OMG yes. Is it worth the £5300 list price? Probably not.

My life of luxury started in the special check in area for special people (3x 32kg baggage allowance!) and a private elevator to the fast-track security channel. No need to shout “out of the way plebs!” as there was a screen to hide the regular passengers.

Virgin Atlantic lounge

I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in Heathrow Terminal 3 but this time I deliberately arrived over four hours early and went straight to the exclusive Virgin lounge upstairs. OMG it was good. The seats were so comfy and the decoration was very classy and all the food was FREE. I had this salad and fish for lunch. Felt like a right doofus for paying £10 for breakfast in the hotel before I came to the airport.

Totally free lunch

The toilets were so luxurious! They had proper hand towels and everything. Not like the regular airport toilets on the floor below.

Nice toilet

Eventually I boarded the plane via the special people channel and went right to my window seat at the front of the plane.

My seat

I say “window” seat. It’s actually rather difficult to look out they window as you need to crane your neck awkwardly to the side: the seat actually points diagonally into the cabin. I found this most strange when the plane took off as the acceleration pushes you in a weird direction. But the side panels mean you can’t see any other passengers, which I rather liked.

In-flight meal

The food was excellent (why am I eating fish again?!) and served on proper plates with proper cutlery. This was actually my favourite part, makes such a big difference to eating out of a miserable plastic tray in economy. And if you want tea they bring it to you an a proper mug, and after you finish and ask for a refill they’ll be like “do you want a biscuit with that??!”. OMG yes please. Service.

Fully flat bed

After dinner it’s time for bed! The seat folds into a fully flat bed and there’s a duvet and sheets hidden behind. They even give you pyjamas if you want. I don’t think I slept that well, and it didn’t help that the flight landed at 3am UK time, but I’ve flown on VS250 soo many times in economy and I always arrived exhausted and nauseous, but after 12 hours in upper class, I just felt a bit tired.

And the breakfast was fantastic too

Ignoring the price, I’d give the whole experience 10/10. I think maybe I’d be prepared to pay 2-3x the economy fare, but at close to 10x it’s a little outside my regular budget. 🙁

Mysterious Key

August 30th, 2018

I’ve been carrying this key around with me for at least 10 years, since I lived in York. I’m pretty sure I’ve not used it in that time, and have completely forgotten what it’s for. It’s possible it opened the padlock on the storage room we used when moving student houses, or perhaps I misappropriated it from one of those houses. Surely one of the great mysteries of our time.

Do YOU recognise this key??

Barry Chuckle

August 5th, 2018

Was sad to hear Barry Chuckle, the shorter Chuckle Brother, died today. 1990s CBBC wouldn’t have been the same without endless repeats of ChuckleVision. And some of the jokes are surprisingly still funny (ish)!

Anniversary

April 8th, 2018

Someone reminded me recently that doof.me.uk has been pumping out content for over ten years now. Let’s take a moment to remember the heady days of 2008…

The first public release of xcowsay, happy times

Although judging by my visitor stats most of what I’ve written since has been read by almost no one. As of April 2018 my most popular articles are:

  1. xcowsay, obviously
  2. Various posts about my VHDL compiler
  3. A not very well researched post about getting FreeBSD to boot with GRUB2
  4. A random script I wrote back in 2011 to use BBC Weather with Conky (now broken)
  5. A cute trick to use objcopy to embed arbitrary binary blobs inside .o files
  6. My recent musings on coats without hanging loops

Not really sure what conclusions to draw from this… 🤔

Technology Gone Too Far

March 18th, 2018

I remember when I went to university in the UK the washing machines in the laundry were simple coin operated affairs. But because China has ALL THE TECHNOLOGY the washing machines here are exclusively controlled by chat-program-turned-app-platform WeChat. You are basically screwed if you don’t have a smartphone.

First you need to add the laundry service as a contact, and then find the one nearest to you

Now you can select the kind of wash cycle you want and the time you want to book the machine

Now you need to log in to the washing machine that was reserved for you on this control panel

After it’s done washing, the machine sends you a helpful reminder to go collect your laundry